This show has been commercially released as "Dick's Picks Vol. 4" and/or "Bear's Choice"
Hard to Handle, China Cat Sunflower > I Know You Rider, St. Stephen > Not Fade Away > St. Stephen > Midnight Hour, Jam
Recorded by PBS at the Family Dog on 02-04-70 and originally broadcast on 12-13-70 for a television documentary entitled, "San Francisco Rock: A Night At The Family Dog" filmed at the Family Dog on 02-04-70. The China > Rider has been matched with this date but the rest of the setlist does not match either Deadbase or Deadlists which also lists a 06:26 Hard to Handle prior to China > Rider and notes that sets were also performed by the Jefferson Airplane and Santana. The St. Stephen > NFA > St. Stephen > Midnight Hour following China > Rider is continuous with the China > Rider in terms of the source quality, crowd and overall musical feel. Accordingly, it appears that this is all one set.
Hard to Handle and the "All Star Jam" included here and sourced from the PBS TV broadcast were missing from the previously circulating tape.
There has been some confusion about this tape where it was initially labeled as 08-30-70, which was a KQED broadcast called Calibration. This is a well-documented show though, and the set list is completely different from the one above.
June 4, 2018 Subject:
Playing with tele
This was an invite-only show as part of a mini-festival that was put on by some hippies at KQED and Ralph Gleason, and videotaped for an NET special (PBS didn't exist yet). So, unlike most events here, instead of being promoted by Chet Helms the club was rented. After promotions company "The Family Dog" lost the Carousel, they found a ballroom, the Ocean Beach Pavilion, and used it as a venue for a rock club (Ocean Beach is at the western end of Golden Gate Park but this was actually a few block up, at the end of Balboa St). The venue was called "Family Dog On the Great Highway" (though the official release used "At"). There was a podium on each end for bands to set up, so NET would be able to film several bands [3 of the 4] without long waits.
This was the first night in home territory after busted down in New Orleans - must have felt like circling the wagons. For just a short while this was like a home venue - they played here 17 times in just 8 months. But the next time they played the name had changed to "660 Great Highway". It was eventually purchased for open space and today it's a vacant lot.
NET at the time had scattered participation and it was up to local affiliates to decide whether to broadcast the show later that year [or for most, probably not]. Back then, in many locales you had to switch your antenna to the UHF band (the 3 networks were on VHF band). On the vid, some missing footage is filled with slowed down B-roll, but at least it's not the usual early '70s rapid zooms, jerking camera, negative image or swirling background (usually anything but the actual person playing). The vid has just three songs from the Dead's set and does not use the same great audio source as the GDP release. For this format, the songs were tight and short [save Black Peter] and the playing restrained. On the plus side, this sounds different than other Feb '70 gigs and the quality of the official release is incredible - though none of the songs stand out against other Feb '70 versions. At the end is a jam with Kaukonen, Garcia, Santana, Casady, and Santana's rhythm section. It's exactly the mess it sounds like on paper, though a couple brief moments are okay (it sounds like most free-form Santana from the era, but unpracticed).
The Set. There was probably a CR&S opener, as Pig would not have opened with Hard to Handle. But given the other sets by Santana, Airplane and the jam, that's probably all that's missing. Black Peter is wonderfully recorded (on the official). Jer gives one of his top vox deliveries, but otherwise it's very straight. The rest is solid but not remarkable, except a really good China>Rider, and a Midnight Hour that bogs down. The Stephen>Not Fade>Stephen is much better on the 8th.
Overall = C+ / 3 stars
SOURCES: Most SBD sources have buzzing underneath, and some are missing Black Peter, M&MU and/or the Multi Jam. The lack of separation makes some sources sound like processed mono. The kaplan_14188 is the fullest (other than the official). The miller_12130 is missing the first three songs. The GDP release is Download Series: Family Dog at the Great Highway but the non-GDP DVD is "A Night at the Family Dog (a Ralph J. Gleason Rock Classic)". The footage is on archive and usually up on YouTube, and is poorly lit [exacerbated by the use of early-tech videotape] .
February 2, 2013 Subject:
Try looking for the upgraded 5.1 sound for this vid "Night at the Family Dog". If you, like me, get sucked into that Grateful Dead vacuum at the expense of some really excellent music (I know, not our fault, right? ;) , do yourself a favor and sit down for Santana and especially the Airplane's set. That Super Jam at the end is not a stunt, neither - it's full-throttle jam.
October 31, 2008 Subject:
great dancing chicks!
September 27, 2008 Subject:
The sound quality is fine for 1970, especially at the Great Highway Dog. Although it is indeed garbled and hissy, I always have to chuckle when I read reviews of these early shows and the reports of "less than" sound quality. Most people would have loved recordings that were this good back then and cherished them as such. In this modern age of all digital and no hiss etc., I still find myself drawn to these analog heirlooms, warts and all. I sure hope Chet Helms makes it into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame.
September 27, 2008 Subject:
Watch this on YouTube
This video including Hard To Handle followed by China Rider is up on YouTube and it is smashing. The HTH is solid and smoking and the China Rider well played and exploratory. The rest of the set isn't bad either tho sound issues are prevalent. Its still very worthy of a listen.
September 30, 2006 Subject:
Sounds good so far...
...But where do I find video footage of this PBS stuff or audio footage of Santana and Airplane for this show. If anyone knows or has this good stuff, please email email@example.com. Thankye.
January 17, 2006 Subject:
we need tv like this!!!
i had this tv show for a while and it was incredible all those bands and then they get toghther and JAM...it was a great view thru the wayback machine if you get a chance see the PBS show...
September 19, 2005 Subject:
The jam after Midnight is very cool> after Carlos barely audible solos Lesh lays it down with Santana percussion. Next Jerry solos, gliding over a tribal funk. A merge of the ages!
November 15, 2004 Subject:
Great midnight hour but sound quality dodgy at best
Nice little snippet but this is for when you have exhausted all the other mint recordings. I was first to review this not sure why as it is good but sounds distorted and hissy with cuts...